The Best Places to Drink Wine in Melbourne

Australians love wine, and as the homegrown industry has matured, drinkers have become more educated about what the country has to offer—and it’s not all savvy-b on ice and tooth-staining shiraz. From a tour of Australia’s young punks of natural winemaking at Cumulus Up and Ombra to a deep dive into the classic regions of Italy at Bar Di Stasio, here are just a few places to grab a great bottle of wine in Melbourne. —Fred Siggins

  • 1

    Bar Di Stasio

    This slick bar adjacent to beloved Italian fine dining restaurant Café Di Stasio—which is wedged into a stretch of backpacker venues in St. Kilda—is home to one of the deepest wine lists in the city. Manned by young Italian waiters in crisp white tuxedos, their tattoos poking out from under their sleeves, this is where you go to drink exceptionally well without having to go all out on dinner. In addition to the wine list, bar snacks and cocktails are simple, classic and well-executed.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • champagne
    • Italian wine
    • vintage wine
    • bar food
  • 2

    Bellota

    Next to Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne—one of the city’s best places to buy a bottle of wine—Bellota offers just about everything you need to piece together a decadent lunch. Grab a bottle from the shop next door and enjoy it alongside charcuterie, oysters or any number of inventive bar snacks and larger plates. With the some of the most knowledgeable service in town and a grilled cheese sandwich that’s worth the trip alone, there's a good chance you'll be here awhile.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • day drinking
    • natural wine
    • champagne
    • low wine markup
    • bar food
  • 3

    Cumulus Up

    This dark, glittering Central Business District (CBD) wine bar sits above its sister venue Cumulus, Inc. Order a plate of ham or some profiteroles (they make the ice cream to order) and ask the crew to point you to a glass of something off the beaten path. The concise by-the-glass list changes constantly, splitting its allegiances between Old World heroes and the young punks of natural winemaking, both in Australia and abroad.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • champagne
    • Australian wine
    • French wine
    • bar food
    • full menu
  • 4

    Gerald's Bar

    A stalwart of the Melbourne wine scene, Gerald’s epitomizes the casual neighborhood bar. With a list of by-the-glass options that rotates nightly, you're sure to stumble upon something new and interesting, with a backstory to match. Get there early enough in the evening and your choice from the wide-ranging (both the Old and New World are thoughtfully represented) list of about 50 bottles could become one of the night's pours. This is Melbourne hospitality at its finest.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • low wine mark ups
    • bar food
  • 5

    Neighbourhood Wine

    Hidden above a nondescript pizza shop on a quiet street in Fitzroy North, stepping into Neighbourhood Wine feels like entering the wine world's version of Narnia. The surprisingly airy main room, which once housed an illegal casino and a gentleman's club, now sports hundreds of bottles from all over the world, many of which qualify as organic, biodynamic and/or natural. The wines are served alongside a well-executed seasonal menu of ideal drinking food (think charcuterie, bavette steak, cured trout, etc.) and by a staff charming enough to keep you here far longer than you anticipated.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • natural wine
    • craft beer
    • bar food
    • full menu
  • 6

    Ombra

    This tiny salumi and wine bar is home to an excellent, quirky list of wines—so quirky, in fact, that they use a key to indicate wines that should be approached with an open mind, so you know to brace yourself if you're heading for esoterica. Grab a seat on the leafy street and a glass or carafe of Lambrusco and make a dinner out of some lamb ribs and a pizza. And if wine's not calling your name, the Negronis are as sharp as the chat.

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    KNOWN FOR

    • bar food
    • Italian wine
    • natural wine

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